asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what he estimates is the annual cost of smoking to the National Health Service; and what steps he has taken to reduce this cost.
Mr. John MacKay
Any estimate of the cost of smoking to the NHS will depend on the assumptions made in its calculation and there is no single correct figure. The figure of "at least" £21·488 million used by the Scottish Committee of Action on Smoking and Health is a reasonable estimate of the inpatient costs attributable to smoking on certain assumptions.I attach importance to ensuring that no one smokes without being aware of the health hazards involved; and the key to our strategy is the promotion of health education. In addition to negotiation of voluntary agreements with the industry, other Government initiatives have included the issue of guidelines to retailers to prevent the illegal sale of cigarettes to children and the issue of leaflets to schools showing recent research facts about under-age smoking.